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A Poem For the Day After Valentine’s Day

It’s February 15th, and while some readers may have woken up this morning in a haze of romantic bliss, others will have spent the day asking their pets where it all went wrong. 

This poem is for the second group. It first appeared in an earlier version in the December 2011 issue of The New Guard; Big Think has graciously allowed me to reprint it here. I don’t usually post original poems, but as you’ll see, this one deals to some extent with literature as well as love. If you’d like Book Think to feature more material of this kind, please let me know. Enjoy!

Valentine Variations


Roses are red,

Violets are blue.

Spring has decided

To try someone new.


Violence is red,

Neurosis is blue.

The blood of my heart

Has a purplish hue.

Frozen with dread,

Spineless straight through,

I drain half a wine bottle,

Plotting my coup.

Moses’s Red

Dividing in two:

The crowd drains around her,

I stride up on cue.

Poses are shed.

Guileless blue

Eyes rise to meet me:

“No, I’ll drink to you.”

Cozy in bed…

Skylights imbue

Us with the reddening

Tinge of the view.


Rosé with bread.

Violins coo.

Candlelight melts

To a pool of white dew.

Goes to my head.

Wine hits me too.

Her eyes are diamonds,

My insides are goo.

Roses are red.

While this is true,

A man’s got to do

What a man’s got to do.


“Oh yes,” she says—

Violates a few

Ancient state laws

And a modern taboo—

Does all the things

I’d been asking her to,

Now that we’re wed.

Somehow I’m blue.


Grossness is said,

Vileness spewed.

The door of the room

Of the night of the feud

Closes. A lead

Silence ensues.

A court case blows open.

We’re both going to lose.

Noses are red,

Eyelids are too.

The case is straightforward.

My tie is askew.


Roses are blue,

Violets are red.

Meanings are constructs.

The poem is dead.

Prose is unread,

Stylists are through.

Composers are next,

Says the Paris Review.

No, I misread—

Music went first.

I stare at my desk

And prepare for the worst.

Orchids are green!

Daisies are pink!

This wine’s so delicious

I can’t even think.

Cirrhosis ahead:

Bile will accrue.

Little by little

The bill will come due.

Roses are rose,

Violets are violet.

Love is clear prose,

Even dying won’t style it.

Houses in rows—

Twilit, outspread.             

The verdict is autumn.

I’m going to bed.             


Spring is in session,

The docket is full,

The heifer with bailiff eyes

Summons the bull,

Gold fuchsia indigo

Ochre vermilion

Are phlox poppies hyacinths

Mums by the billion,

Senses are evidence,

X equals Y,

And a couple in Paris

Decides with a sigh

That is subject to further

Judicial review

That roses are red

And that violets are blue.

[Image via Shutterstock.]


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